RACE: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Hollywood Casino 400
TRACK: Kansas Speedway
DRIVER: Daniel Suárez
CAR: No. 19 STANLEY Toyota Camry
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) rolled into Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 and race number 32 on the 2017 schedule. Daniel Suárez looked to grab his first career MENCS win at the 1.5-paved oval. The 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion was happy with his No. 19 ARRIS Camry in practice and qualified the orange machine sixth of Sunday’s race at Kansas. Suárez spend the first 150 laps struggling with an ill-handling race car but after several adjustments the ARRIS Camry came to life. Suárez looked to be in a position to grab his 13th top-10 finish of his rookie season. Unfortunately, the 25-year old from Monterrey, Mexico was involved in a lap 197 crash, relegating him and his ARRIS team to a 36th-place finish.
After qualifying sixth for the 267-lap event, Suárez was excited about his race car and felt like he had a Camry that could compete for the win. However, with the drop of the green flag the rookie driver realized quickly he had race car that was way too loose to be competitive and was running 13th when the competition caution flag flew on lap 30. Crew chief Scott Graves called his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and a major chassis adjustment. However, the adjustments didn’t seem to help the No. 19 ARRIS Camry and Suárez crossed the finish line 20th for Stage 1.
Graves once again called his driver to pit road for tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. Suárez took the Stage 2 restart 28th and was running 17th when a caution flag flew on lap 156 for a single-car incident in Turn 2. Graves summoned his driver to pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel and adjustments. With each pit stop the No. 19 ARRIS Camry slowly came to life and Suárez found himself running in the top-15 at the conclusion of Stage 2. Graves opted to keep his young driver on the racing surface during the Stage 2 caution period and Suárez restarted 12th on lap 166.
As laps in the race started to tick off different pit strategies started to play out and the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender found himself running sixth when a caution flag flew on lap 193. Graves left his driver on the race track and he restarted sixth for the laps 196 restart. Unfortunately, on lap 197 Suárez was collected in a multi-car incident that collected 14 cars overall. The No. 19 received heavy damage ending Suárez’s day. He was credited with a 36th-place finish.
Martin Truex Jr. won the Hollywood Casino 400. Kurt Busch., Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.
The MENCS returns to action next Sunday night, October 29th at Martinsville Speedway. The race will be broadcast live at 3:00 PM ET on NBCSN, MRN and SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio.
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